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Annoying Background Event

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A repetitive event in the background that slowly drives characters up the wall.

Compare Funny Background Event, Meaningful Background Event, and Dripping Disturbance.

In-Universe Examples Only.


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     Comic Books  

  • One Titeuf strip has the kids make weird faces for the whole strip, before the last panel reveals they're doing this in front of a window to distract one of their friends who's giving a violin recital.


     Film - Animated 

     Film - Live-Action 


  • Discworld:
    • Lord Vetinari's antechamber has a specially designed clock that ticks irregularly. By the time he lets his visitors in, they're severely stressed by the unrewarded anticipation of a tick that always come a fraction of a second too late or too early.
    • Reaper Man: While having tea with Mrs. Flitworth, her clock's ticking irritates Death to the point where he asks her to make it stop.

     Live-Action TV  

  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: At the beginning of the cheeseshop sketch, we see two men dancing in the shop accompanied by a bouzouki, occasionally visible in different camera shots. As Cleese's patience slowly erodes due to the lack of cheese in the shop, he finally snaps at them to stop the music.
  • In Dead Like Me, Team Dad Rube and Team Cloudcuckoolander Mason are stuck in an airport with a crying baby in the background. It's complicated by Mason smuggling a (leaky) package of cocaine up his rear end and Rube attracting attention from security when he cracks a bit and mutters that he wants to "kill that fuckin' baby."
  • In an episode of Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie are testing whether a person wearing a latex mask of another person would pass scrutiny. While Jamie is explaining their testing procedure to a camera, Adam (dressed as Jamie) is in the background doing a bizarre dance. Jamie glares at Adam when he finishes the piece to camera. Adam hastily stops dancing and innocently puts his hands in his pockets.
  • Still Game has a scene where Tam's grandson, Ryan, says repeatedly to Winston "You've got a fat belly", to which he screams "I've got an underactive thyroid, you prick!"
  • The Office: While Michael is giving a presentation, everybody's attention is fixated on the screensaver behind him, all of them hoping this will finally be the day they see the logo bounce right into the corner instead of just missing it. Naturally, every near miss corresponds with Michael making a suggestion, so he mistakes their frustration for actual criticism. Finally it goes in the corner and the meeting breaks up, Michael rejoicing in his newfound teamleading skills.

     Web Original  

  • This Touhou Project fanvid has Patchouli's reading constantly interrupted by Koakuma dancing in the background.


     Western Animation  
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Mac Daddy", Mac and Bloo discuss what to do about Cheese, while Cheese is playing with a toy horse just off frame. Eventually, Bloo gets sick of Cheese's horse and yells at him to cut it out.